Mike Adenuga @69: Celebrating an entrepreneurial colossus


“The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it”.
— William James

Time is simply the unit of life. It is used as a yardstick to measure man’s longevity on the face of earth. Time in itself does not really change things but only reveals. There were times we were not here. We are here today. There will be times, in the future, for every living creature, that we must have transcended to the great beyond.

What will keep reminding generations coming after us that we once transversed this space, will be indelible footprints we must have left on the sands of time. What birthdays do, is to remind us that the clock of life is ticking; albeit unnoticed. That is why the postulation of William James comes to bear. Knowing that life is transient, the greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.


In order to encourage mortals to spend their lives on making the world better, and entrenching legacies that will outlive them, we have the moral burden to celebrate those already walking the glorious path of impact on humanity. Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr) is living out this philosophy. His life has not only been a great asset to this generation of Nigerians in particular and Africans in general, but will continue to bless generations coming after us.

Born on April 29th, 1953, Chief Mike Adenuga’s 69th-year sojourn on earth, so far, has created landmark of achievements that will certainly outlast him. If The Bull, as he is fondly called, decides to retire today from the boardroom, he has done enough already that will put him in the minds and hearts of several generations unborn. The imprints of his meritorious lifetime, will be here long after he has gone to rest with the Lord.

His philanthropic strides have redefined generosity and set a new height of humanitarianism. Writers, pundits and crafters of historic commentaries will continue to enrich encyclopedias with the giant exploits of this shrewd businessman cum investor.


Like one of the U.S. founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, affirmed in one of his famous speeches, “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing”.

When it comes to entrepreneurship, Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr) can be likened to a gigantic elephant, with the strength of a bull, courage of a lion, focus of an eagle, speed of a cheetah, wisdom of a tortoise and the humility of a dove. With these sterling attributes rolled in own individual, he has always left enduring footprints whichever sphere of life he has chosen to transverse.

From oil, gas, telecoms, philanthropy, etcetera, Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr) has really carved a niche for himself. He has demonstrated a superior models of doing business with his entrepreneurial grit, while creating wealth for himself and the nation at large. He has been graciously honoured both home and abroad.

From being conferred the Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON); Nigeria’s second-highest national honor, to the Companion of the Star of Ghana (CSG); Ghanaian highest civilian national honour, to Knight of the Legion of Honour (chevalier de la Legion d Honneur), France’s highest civilian honor, Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr) has blazed the trail in the business world.


As expressed in an Indian folklore of Blind men and the Elephant, where certain blind men could only define an elephant based on the particular part of the animal’s body each of them touched, Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr) is that metaphorical elephant that has different definitions for a lot of individuals, conglomerates and nations, depending on which aspect of his life that has impacted one, mostly.

For me and my generation, we can call him Mr. Per Second Billing. His resounding initiatives and contributions in Nigeria’s telecom revolution, is our own part of the proverbial elephant we can give account of him. Without the grand entrance of Dr. Mike Adenuga in the foray of GSM, maybe, mobile telephony services might still be exclusively reserved of the rich and elite club.

Nigerians will forever be grateful to him for making the “impossible” possible. Before Globacom was launched in August of 2003, the two foreign mobile operators who were legacy service providers, said that Per Second Billing (PSB) system was not possible. And enthusiastic Nigerians eager to explore then new world of GSM were being ripped off. Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr), entered the ring, changed the game and made the said “impossible” possible.

Globacom Limited became the first mobile operator to start billing its customers using Per a Second Billing (PSB) system instead of Per Minute Billing (PMB) that was obtainable, thereby crashing the exorbitant cost of making GSM tariffs. The first indigenous mobile operator chaired by the visionary and patriotic Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr), also took a swipe at the high cost of SIM cards, and sold its own cheaper.


The healthy competition brought by Globacom Limited in the industry, did not only reduce the cost of SIM cards and calls, but heralded massive rollout of telecom infrastructure across the country, of which took telecommunications services to nooks and crannies of Nigeria and beyond. Our loved ones, friends and business partners in far-flung ends of the country were brought into a global village of connectivity.

The GSM revolution ignited by Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr) took the nation from pedestrian level of paltry 400,000 active mobile lines in 2001 to over 100 million active lines, today. This catalytic effect has created millions of direct and indirect jobs in the country and continent. It has birthed opportunities in other sectors of the economy, like banking, transportation, media, hospitality, entertainment, medicine, oil and gas, etcetera.


Today, I can stay in the comfort of my home or office and do some banking activities on my phone, without having to go queue at the banking hall, to waste precious resources of time. I can order an item from any online shops using my phone’s connectivity and it will be delivered at my doorsteps. I can as well book a taxi on the internet from the convenience of my home and etcetera.

Majority of Nigerians would not have been able to access these facilities if mobile telephony was not made affordable by the competition brought into the industry by Dr. Mike Adenuga’s led Globacom Limited. This is truly how to live a life of impact. A lot of Nigerians can have meetings with business partners, colleagues, etc, using electronic conference platforms like Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Office, without being physically present.


Nigerians have a voice today via social media because mobile telephony and broadband services were made available and affordable to them. New media has become potent court of public opinion where the masses, the elites and government officials meet and express their opinions on burning issues without bottlenecks associated with the mainstream media.

The million-dollar question is: Imagine Nigeria’s telecom sector without Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr)? It is better not imagined. The Ogun State-born trillionaire entrepreneur is not only in business to make money but to demonstrate a superior models of doing business that can change the cause of history for good. This ideology he has proved in his decades of entrepreneurship.


As I am writing this article, there has not been electricity supply for three consecutive days in my area of Abuja. What keep coming to my mind is: Imagine a Mike Adenuga in the power sector that will solve this perennial electricity crisis in Nigeria. The nation will leapfrog from being a consuming nation to a producing true giant of Africa, in few years.

Every critical sector of the economy needs midas touch of Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr). He has shown it in telecom, oil and gas industries, respectively. His contributions in the development of sports, arts and entertainment in the country and continent, can not be erased by the vagaries of time.

As the nation’s consummate investor celebrated his 69th birthday on the face of the earth, one year shy of joining the league of septuagenarians, my heartfelt prayer is that God will continue to grant him the wisdom of King Solomon, strength of Warrior David and understanding of Administrator, Daniel. My wish: Nigeria need Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr) School of Entrepreneurship where young entrepreneurs can be mentored to step into the big shoes “The Bull” is leaving behind.

Chidiebere wrote in from Abuja via [email protected].

Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.
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